Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Why I Like Portland

Just the other day, I received an email from my favorite cousin in Michigan. My cousin is 14 years younger than me and I can actually still remember the day they brought her home from the hospital. She asked why I'd chosen Portland to live in.

Her question is a valid one. After all, I'm the same cousin who spent nearly 10 years living in Europe (during which time she graduated from nursing school), then another 5 years in L.A. once I returned, and another 4 in sunny Hawaii where I honestly thought I'd find my pot of gold and then retire under a swaying palm.

Looking back, I'm convinced that the happiest days of my life were those I spent in Europe. But while I was running around chasing the next photograph all my friends were settling down, starting careers and families and building that nest egg to retire on. Then, when I finally had the sense to come back to America I got antsy again and went on a trip around the world in '95. When I arrived in Honolulu on New Years Eve from New Zealand (I was able to celebrate it twice) I knew right away that the sun and sand life was not for me. I quickly found out what it was like to live in a "tourist trap" after traveling to so many myself.

So when she asked me "why Portland" I sent back an email explaining the reasons. Portland is a very liberal-minded city, has good access to nature, has excellent cultural activities (not to mention the famous Powell's Books) and a mass public transportation system that is perhaps one of the best in the nation

Now Portland is getting ready for big changes on 5th and 6th avenues! The city is about to transform the aging transit mall into a vibrant and inviting place for residents, commuters and shoppers. Opening in 2009, a new MAX light rail line to Clackamas County—dubbed the "Green Line"—will run the length of the Mall, connecting Union Station and Portland State University.

And a host of improvements, including refurbished streets and sidewalks, new transit shelters, better lighting and eye-catching public art, will soon revitalize these signature downtown streets. The I-205/Portland Mall Light Rail Project is bringing a renewed energy and vitality to the city center. I moved to 5th Avenue last month in an effort to find a smaller and cheaper flat. What I found is ideal and overlooks Chinatown. I just found out last week why the streets are all torn-up (I know more about UK news). What a pleasant surprise! And in a couple of years I'll have the new "Green Line" literary stopping at my door. I love living in Portland. Now, read this, before you move here too: www.portlandmall.org/about/index.htm

But first, here's a poem to put you in an adventurous mood:

Longing For A Pastoral Environment

In this scenario we try to slay a dragon that's really only a lizard.
I steal the swords we use. She borrows a pair of Betty Davis eyes

but forgets to bring the Visine. Our thirst has no fear nor has it ever
been green. She says she believes a golf course should be built

only on land overlooking the sea. I say I believe man has been
put here to suffer especially when he's about to tee on the green.

We both agree that games should never be played in a moral
gymnasium because the token fairway could just as easily be a

bunker. The observation podium is for onlookers to consider. The
angels in the architecture are actually errors of Eros. And while all

of this is being sorted out, the dragon turns into a Wal-Mart store's
restroom where all you can find is single-ply toilet paper.

This poem first published at: www.noojournal.com/six.htm
Copyright 2007 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.
Visit my e-zine: http://concelebratory.blogspot.com/
And music blog at: http://medleymakersant.blogspot.com/

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